Taipei, The Ministry of Transport and Communications announced freeway traffic control measures on Wednesday for the Mid-Autumn Festival and Double Ten National Day holiday weekends in October, warning that record-high traffic volume can be expected during peak travel periods.
The Oct. 1-4 Mid-Autumn Festival could see 125 million vehicle-kilometers on the first day, compared with the typical 87 million vkm on a normal weekday and an all-time Mid-Autumn Festival high, the ministry said.
Heavy congestion is expected, particularly on Freeway No. 5 that links Nangang in Taipei and Su’ao in Yilan County, where increased traffic is likely from 9 a.m. Sept. 31, on certain southbound sections, officials said.
Those traveling southward from Nangang to Toucheng, for instance, could find themselves tied up in traffic for 80-120 minutes during peak traffic flow rather than the more usual 25 minutes, according to the ministry.
Motorists are encouraged to set off between midnight and 5 a.m., or after 5 p.m. on Oct. 1 to avoid the worst of the jams.
In a further effort to ease congestion on the country’s freeways, tolls will be suspended between midnight and 5 a.m. Oct. 1-3, and between midnight and 10 a.m. on the last day of the holiday, the ministry said.
During other periods, freeway tolls will be reduced by about 25 percent to a flat rate of NT$0.9 (US$0.03) per kilometer, it said, adding that an additional 20 percent reduction will go into effect on National Freeway No. 3 between the Hsinchu and Yanchao interchanges.
The standard toll-free first 20km of travel on all freeways will be suspended during the entire holiday, it went on.
Another traffic control measure during the four-day holiday will be vehicle occupancy at certain times of day on certain freeways, the ministry continued.
Vehicles carrying fewer than three people including the driver will not be allowed on certain sections on freeways No. 1, 3 and 5 during the holiday period, it said.
Similar traffic controls will be implemented on the Oct. 9-11 holiday, where traffic volume on the nation’s freeways is forecast to reach 110 vkm per day, according to the ministry.
Tolls will be suspended between midnight and 5 a.m. throughout the holiday period, with vehicle occupancy controls also in place.